Butz, Earl L.


Card signed by the controversial Nixon-Ford Agriculture Secretary



Autograph ID: 6808
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1909-2008) Indiana-born Secretary of Agriculture 1971-76 (Nixon-Ford), favored large-scale corporate farming, best remembered for verbal gaffes that eventually cost him his job. Educated at Purdue University (BS & PhD), VP of the American Agricultural Economics Assn. 1948, VP of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers 1951-54. He was Eisenhower’s Asst. Agriculture Secretary and chairman of the US delegation to the UN FAO 1954-57. In 1957, he became Dean of Agriculture at Purdue, promoted in 1968 to Dean of Education and VP of Purdue’s research foundation. In 1971, President Nixon named him Agriculture Secretary and continued to serve after Nixon resigned in 1974, drastically changing federal agricultural policy and reengineering many New Deal era farm support programs. He ended a program that paid corn farmers to not plant all their land, which tried to prevent a national oversupply of corn and low corn prices. His mantra to farmers was “get big or get out,” and urged farmers to plant commodity crops like corn “from fencerow to fencerow.” These policy shifts coincided with the rise of major agribusiness corporations, and declining financial stability of small family farm. In 1972, the USSR, suffering disastrous harvests, purchased 30 million tons of US grain. Butz helped arrange that sale to boost crop prices to keep restive farmers in the Republican fold. He was recognized as the person who started the rise of corn production, large commercial farms, and the abundance of corn in American diets. At the 1974 Rome World Food Conference, Butz made fun of Pope Paul VI’s opposition to population control, and the White House requested he apologize. Butz resigned his cabinet post in 1976, after a 2nd gaffe, a gross racist remark made on a commercial flight after the 1976 GOP Convention. He returned to Purdue as dean emeritus of the University’s School of Agriculture. In 1981, he pleaded guilty to federal income tax evasion charges for under-reporting income he earned in 1978. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison, all but 30 days suspended, and he was also fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $61,183 in civil penalties.

Signed 3 x 5 white card”
Type: Signed card

Product Search

Product categories

Quick Links